The importance of veterinary policy in preventing the emergence and re-emergence of zoonotic disease: examining the case of human african trypanosomiasis in Uganda

Anna L Okello, Susan C Welburn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Rapid changes in human behavior, resource utilization, and other extrinsic environmental factors continue to threaten the current distribution of several endemic and historically neglected zoonoses in many developing regions worldwide. There are numerous examples of zoonotic diseases which have circulated within relatively localized geographical areas for some time, before emerging into new regions as a result of changing human, environmental, or behavioral dynamics. While the world's focus is currently on the Ebola virus gaining momentum in western Africa, another pertinent example of this phenomenon is zoonotic human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), endemic to south and eastern Africa, and spread via infected cattle. In recent years, the ongoing northwards spread of this disease in the country has posed a serious public health threat to the human population of Uganda, increasing the pressure on both individual families and government services to control the disease. Moreover, the emergence of HAT into new areas of Uganda in recent years exemplifies the important role of veterinary policy in mitigating the severe human health and economic impacts of zoonotic disease. The systemic challenges surrounding the development and enforcement of veterinary policy described here are similar across sub-Saharan Africa, highlighting the necessity to consider and support zoonotic disease control in broader human and animal health systems strengthening and associated development programs on the continent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218
JournalFrontiers in public health
Volume2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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